Another weekend, and another weekend that was full of surprises. Last Week, Harvard defeated UNH in non-conference action but turned around and lost to Dartmouth just nights later. Quinnipiac will continue its reign as the top team in this poll, as it has been for over a month now, but the back of the poll has now become quite close. Princeton is decimated, Harvard has been relatively inconsistent, Dartmouth just picked up its first win and Brown has just one win in its past eight games after beginning the season 2-0.
Union and Colgate are tied for second in the ECAC standings, while Cornell, Clarkson and Yale are all within are all within two points of that position. It’s still early to be looking at the standings, but trends and surprises are beginning to brew especially with Colgate and Clarkson sitting near the top. This weekend features big matchups in Schenectady and in the North Country, as Quinnipiac travels to Union (top two teams in the ECAC standings) and the battle of the North Country will feature two of the biggest surprises in the conference. I speak of the Battle of the North Country, Dartmouth’s first win and Princeton’s injuries in this week’s edition of Three Things I Think.
This week my guest is the Union Hockey Blog who has a slightly different poll than myself. His picks will be in the parentheses and again, like the SLU hockey Blog from last week, his picks are very close to mine.
1 (1). Quinnipiac (13-2-2, 6-1-1) – Last Week 1
Quinnipiac has been numero uno in these Power Rankings for over a month now, and the end of that reign doesn’t seem in sight. Last week the Bobcats tied Providence College on Wednesday and trounced UMass at home on Saturday. On Wednesday it had trouble finishing many great, golden opportunities against the Friars and in all honesty it was its one and only weakness. It has dominated many opponents and will continue to do so.
2 (2). Union (8-3-2, 5-1-0) – Last Week 2
Union had an interesting weekend to say the least, as it swept Penn State in Hockey Valley. On Saturday night, The Dutchmen and the Nittany Lions were tied midway through the third period, when Max Novak found the back of the net with seven minutes to go. It would hold on for the win from there but Sunday night left its fans asking for answers. Penn State raced out to a 4-1 lead 11:43 into the second period but Union would come roaring back and it completed the come from behind victory with three seconds remaining. Union should have had no trouble dispatching Penn State but it did. I reluctantly leave the Dutchmen here because no one else proved it should be above it. This weekend Union hosts Princeton before hosting Quinnipiac on Saturday, the latter will be a key first half matchup.
3 (4). Clarkson (10-3-1, 4-2-0) – La st Week 3
Clarkson was again idle and will face long time rival St. Lawrence this weekend. The Golden Knights will look to finish the second half on a high note, as it has surprised many this season.
4 (5). Cornell (7-4-1, 4-3-1) – Last Week 4
Despite a loss to Boston University at MSG on Saturday, I am keeping Cornell in this position because of its win against Yale the weekend before last. Cornell downright dominated play and outshot the Terriers 39-11 in the game but still struggled to stop BU. The game was filled with positives for the Big Red, because it had struggled in recent weeks just to get pucks on net consistently. The loss was probably the worst on Cornell’s early schedule. This weekend it travels to its travel partner, Colgate for its only game of the weekend. After the game, Cornell will embark on its winter break.
5 (3). Yale (6-2-2, 3-1-2) – Last Week 5
Yale struggled against a Merrimack team that is winless in seven games, as it needed a goal at 4:14 of the OT period to defeat the Warriors. The win was a good response to a loss to Cornell the weekend before but then again Yale should have had no trouble dispatching the Warriors on the night. Yale hosts Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend. The Harvard game will be a preview of the Rivalry on Ice in January, which takes place at the famed Madison Square Garden.
6 (6). Colgate (7-7-1, 5-3-0) – Last Week 6
Colgate was also idle over the weekend and it will host travel partner, Cornell, on Saturday in Hamilton.
7 (7). St. Lawrence (8-6-2, 2-2-2) – Last Week 7
The Saints have some impressive wins on its resume and it added another over the weekend as it defeated North Dakota in Grand Forks on Friday night. The Saints imposed its well on UND from the start and it was rewarded with a 5-2 win road win. On Saturday night, the Saints may have lost but again it dominated long stretches of the contest. The weekend was an impressive bounce-back after a loss against RIT. The Saints will play a crucial rivalry weekend against Clarkson this week.
8 (8). Rensselaer (7-5-2, 2-3-2) – Last Week 8
Rensselaer was idle over the weekend and will get back to action this weekend, when it hosts Quinnipiac and Princeton. The Engineers have been largely inconsistent in the first half and after this weekend has a big non-conference weekend against Denver next week.
9 (10). Harvard (4-6-1, 2-5-1) – Last Week 11
Harvard did a NH loop last week, as it first defeated a good UNH team on the road 6-3 then proceeded to have a let down against winless Dartmouth on Saturday in a 2-1 loss. Harvard is better than its performance on Saturday but it struggled to get anything of quality against the Big Green on Saturday. I was more than impressed with the Crimson last Tuesday but left disappointed on Saturday. I guess the week explains Harvard’s season so far, inconsistent.
10 (12). Dartmouth (1-8-0, 1-6-0) – Last Week 12
Dartmouth looked like a confident team against Harvard and it was rewarded with a hard fought victory, in which I thought it dominated its opponent. It was a far cry from the team that I saw two weeks ago, and in all honesty it passed the eye test more than the two teams below it in this poll. Because a Power Poll emphasizes recent wins and performances, Dartmouth is rewarded.
11 (9). Brown (3-6-1, 1-4-1) – Last Week 10
Brown has just one win in its past eight contests and has struggled mightily in recent weeks. Over the weekend, Brown had a great performance against cross-town rival, Providence College. PC is very good and the fact the Bears were able to keep up with them is a good sign, but it still lost. The Bears won its first two games of the season and have just won once since, a win against the team that sits below them in these rankings. Brown will finish up its first half with home tilts against Dartmouth and Harvard over the weekend.
12 (11). Princeton (3-10-0, 2-6-0) – Last Week 9
Princeton is here through no fault of its own really, but because injuries have decimated it to the point where more injuries will cause it to be short in its lineup. I talk about Princeton’s injury issues in more depth in this week’s Three Things I Think, so check that out. Princeton was swept away by a struggling Michigan State team over the weekend, including an 8-2 shellacking on Sunday afternoon. Princeton will probably be an unknown until skaters start coming back from injuries.